Wednesday, January 30, 2013

travel log: dublin, ireland

well, I took a hiatus from sharing UK pictures from our trip this past spring. 
however, i still have soooo much to share, so here we go:) 

when kevin and i strolled into dublin via bus (from galway),
it was unfortunately pouring buckets of rain! 
and it didn't let up. 
fortunately, it was the only full days of rain we had on our entire trip 
{which if you know the UK, you know that's quite the miracle, so were were not complaining}

the wonderful thing about Dublin is that there is a LOT to do inside:) 

the first night we were there, we went to the BEST dinner experience
called "food, folklore, and fairies".
if you're picturing a little man singing and dancing and telling stories...
you're right! 
{and it was amazing!}
you show up to the oldest pub in dublin called the Brazen Head
and are ushered upstairs to this beautiful old room with a fireplace. 
the host spends the night sharing the history of ireland through stories, irish folksongs, and irish dancing. 
kevin even volunteered me to dance a jig...my shining moment! haha. not! 

the next day we bought tickets on one of those "hop on, hop off" buses. we usually prefer to walk cities, but with the rain the bus was our best friend in keeping us dry! 

we checked out the Guiness Factory, where they've been brewing beer for hundreds of years. Even though I couldn't drink the beer (i'm allergic to wheat), I really enjoyed the museum! At the top of the museum there is a 360 view of the city where they give you a free pint of beer to enjoy. 

we also took a tour of the infamous jail. Amazing. So much Irish history on the tour!

we also stayed in the most beautiful guesthouse with a massive room! Kevin and I enjoyed our room so much, that after the end of a soggy wet day of trekking the city, we ended the night snuggling up in our bed and watching downton abbey on our kindle. perfection. 

enjoy dublin! 
{and to see other ireland posts, check them out here: dingle 1, dingle 2, cliffs of moher

Monday, January 28, 2013

stepping out diaries: airplane style

 

it's been a while since i've written a "stepping-out diaries" post. 
if you're just now joining us for these...you can read the first one here and see what they are all about. 

plainly, I want to see the Holy Spirit MOVE. 
but honestly, half the time i'm not asking him to move or really even wanting to get outside myself. 
or am doing waaayyy more important things like checking facebook and watching movies.

and WHOA, that's sad, because truly the Lord wants us to live epic lives that see 
miracles
and wonders. 

and mostly, He wants us to feel that incredible feeling when we become a team with HIM. 
where we are praying and moving in step with his spirit, and it's just too awesome for words. 

In november, Abba and I were a team:) 

I flew over to spend 2 glorious weeks with my sister in Europe. 
We visited family in Germany (here and here)
and explored the island of Crete in Greece (here and here). 

we did So much in those 2 weeks, 
that by the time I hit the airport in Amsterdam to fly home to the US,
all I could honestly think about was how many movies I wanted to watch on my flight home. 
{i'm so deep, i know!}

45D
found my seat. 
check. 
time to watch MOVIES!!!!!!!!!!!!

and then she sat down. 
this beautiful woman next to me. 
she smiled, and settle in.
and of course we hit it off and talked for the next 30 minutes while the plane boarded. 

she was a gorgeous Peruvian woman
who married a German and lived in Germany,
but was moving to the US for her husbands job. 
and we were the same age. 

her English was a little patchy, and I speak zero German, 
so we got the job done using a little English, a little Spanish, and a little Italian. 

As the flight proceeded, we chatted about everything under the sun. 
{which was rather a miracle in itself between so many languages! ha}
my love of peruvian food. 
her experience as a au pair in Germany.
we laughed at how on-time and efficient Germans are,
and how loud and crazy americans could be.  
She told me about her brother's drug addiction that he finally beat. 
And I confessed my long line of health issues. 

and then we hit that awkward silence where we seemed to have exhausted all conversation topics. 
She shuffled with her headphones, and started to watch the screen. 
and believe me, I was DYING to watch The Lucky One. 
{those dang Nicholas Sparks movies get me EVERY TIME!}

but in that small silence, 
hum of the airplane droning along, 
i heard Him. 

sweet Abba, 
gently nudging me to get out my Bible and devotional. 
and all of a sudden an immediate rush inside the river of my heart opened for this lovely woman. 
a feeling that I needed to pray for her. 

to see. 
to see HIM. 

so i'm sitting there praying for her, 
specifically that the Lord would give me an opportunity to share with her at some point on the 9 hour flight. 

and I.KID.YOU.NOT.
i'm not even done praying,
and she leans over and taps me on the shoulder. 

i think i had a coughing attack i was so surprised. 

"what is that?" she points at my bible and devotional. 
"i know the bible" she says, "but what is that" hand stretching to my devotional. 

i hold up the devotional called Jesus Calling. 
"well...um...it's a book that helps us to know Jesus more. That helps us understand his truths from the bible in a deeper and more practical way." 

"can I read it?" she asks. 

um...HELLO...here is a woman asking if she can read my devotional. 
"uhhh YA" i almost scream. 

so as we are reading and looking up verses,
i also happened to be listening to my new favorite band 'All Sons and Daughters'

I give her an earphone and we listen together. 
she sits mesmerized by the melodious songs, but then asks "what do they mean?"

for the next hour we sit together and listen to the songs. 
i pause them in between lyrics, and explain. 

"what is grace?" she says 
and I humbly give my best answer. 
a free gift. 
just like Jesus. 

and then. 
there we are.
 chatting our hearts away about sweet savior of the whole world. 
who can be sweet savior of our hearts. 

"i don't know this God in germany" she whispers "but i want to know him". 
i sat, absolutely still. humbled greatly by the Lord's orchestration. 
45D was not a mistake. 

I gave her my devotional to keep. 
and we prayed together. 
and I doubt i'll ever see her this side of heaven. 

but as i processed my time,
i realized,
when we pray to step out,
 even for small things,
GOD MOVES. 

and he MOVES with us. 
on our team. 
for the greatest goal we've ever had. 
to KNOW Him and make him KNOWN. 

may my small life never forget that I am a part of a GRAND plan. 
Abba's plan. 
and that every little step we take can be with Him and for Him. 

amen and amen. 

step out today lovelies, and you will not be the same. 
Happy Monday. 
love Katie 

Friday, January 25, 2013

eucharisteo. falling love. everyday.


there is something so absolutely breathtaking about falling in love. 
like knock you down, 
crazy-can't-stop-smiling, 
FULL of life
abundant joy. 

the secret of falling in love is that truly it is a succession of 
thank offering moments. 

like when you get that ridiculous grin and shout incessantly to a friend that you are 
"so lucky you can't even believe it"
or whisper in his ear "i don't deserve you"
or go through the day thinking of him, and every one of those thoughts, every second of imagining life with him, or even being with him

is just swelling with thanksgiving

and this love, 
this falling, 
you feel ALIVE. 

and Ann showed me something today, in her last chapter of "A Thousand Gifts". 
and it suckered punched me raw, because it's like a truth I knew, 
but just got for the first time because i'm seeing it with

new eyes. 

this falling in love bit. 
it can happen. 
every day. 
with God. 

Ann writes,

"Giving thanks awakens me to a God giving Himself, 
the naked, 
unashamed passion, 
God giving Himself to me- for me- a surrender of love. 

"Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are...a divine choice," wrote Henri Nouwen. 

A divine choice! 
He chooses His children  to fully live!
Fully live the fullest life: the astonished gratitude, 
the awed joy,
the flying and the free. 

The discipline of giving thanks, of unwrapping one thousand gifts, unwraps God's heart bare:
I choose you. Live!  

I hear the beat of his heart, that song, crystal clear: 
"I have loved you," says the Lord
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness". 

In a thousand ways He woos. 
In a thousand ways I fall in love. 
Isn't falling in love always the fullest life?" 

and as Ann teaches me, 
I learn. 

I learn that I could bless the very heart of God. 
to thank him. 
to spill with gratitude for all the gifts he poured out in my life. 

just like those falling in love moments where we ooze an excitement alive, 
our lives a manifesto to love. 

but blessing sweet Abba's heart with eucharisteo is a falling in love moment. 
a moment where God and I exchange love and blessings and touch each other's hearts. 
and souls. 

and it can be
every day. 

and so dear friends, as I'm done going through the book "A thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp,
 i truly desperately hope that both you and I have learned that thanksgiving is it

it's it. 

it's the way to LIVE
fully ALIVE.

because it's love. 
it's the realization that through cherished gratitude, 
over and over,
we get to fall 
deeper and deeper
in love with God. 

and is there anyway to better live than the epic falling in love? 
i. think.not. 

happy weekend! 
love Katie 

and speaking of falling in love, my baby is home! thanks to each and everyone of you that left a sweet comment on Monday. It brought so much JOY to my heart that all of you cared so much about me reunited with my husband! THANK YOU! 


Monday, January 21, 2013

the anticipation of home



“The sweetness of reunion is the joy of heaven.” 
-Richard Paul Evans

Today my sweet dearest comes back to me from the kingdom of Nepal.
 He will smell like smoke and curry and many unpleasantries. 
Eyes tired from a long journey. 
from dancing and praising God with a movement of believers,
from speaking at a conference where pastors are empowered,
from sleeping on the ground, and braving the cold weather. 
But I will ever love him for that. 
For spending his life on what counts in the world. 

Hands fidget, tap, in excitement. 
nerves on end, heart racing. 

no more nights solo, a small frame practically swimming alone in our big bed. 
no more inside jokes lost to the wind. 

yes, he is coming. 
i am coming. 
home. 

yes home. 

since married, my concept of home has significantly shifted. 
i pondered and reflected this as he was gone. 
home is not northern california where i grew up. 
nor our apartment in southern california where we live now. 

no. 
home is Kevin. 
home is our love, nestled deep within our shared heart. 
our shared dream. 
our shared hopes. 

and in some small way, the JOY of heaven rains downs when we reunite today. 
the anticipation for something not yet here. 
the swelling, heart full, of love becoming fully realized. 
the ache manifested in the reuniting. 
the LOVE becoming absolutely realized. 

but ever more true is that home home
is with Abba. 
who beckons us to shiver sweet in anticipation for home with the King. 
the reunion that will be JOY, heaven's sweet JOY. 
the angels sing, and we meet our ultimate Lover. 
King Jesus. 
and home will be peace. 
only peace. 
no tears. no hurt. no shame. no wounds. 
just sheer, incredible JOY and PEACE. 

For God, Love, is truly home. 
And that is something worth getting excited about. 

so tomorrow i taste a small flavor of the glorious divine to come. 
and i cannot thank God enough for this flash of heaven. 
i'm getting ready. 
to
go
home

tomorrow with Kevin
and for eternity with the King

happy week to you dearest readers. 
love Katie 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

some pretties for your weekend

this past july i unexpectedly had some time off, and since Kev had to work, I decided last minute to drive up to northern california to visit my family. 

that's 8 hours of driving people and you haven't even left the state!! it seems as though on the east coast you drive through about 6 states in 8 hours! haha! 

i digress. 

my mom i and spent a few glorious days crafting. it was delightful. my mother is pretty much the queen of being able to copy any picture I give her. 

pinterest + my mom = lucky me. 

it just so happens that next week I'm flying up to visit my family for a few days, since my husband has LEFT me alone for 2 weeks! traveled to do God's work in Nepal:) 

so...on this trip I expect there will more many more crafting parties in store. but for now...here is a little snippet of some of the fun projects we worked on in july! enjoy! 

{i wanted something to fill the empty space above my bed, so we decided to do a collage of sorts!} 
{i had seen these hoops on pinterest and loved them. i fell in love with this quote, but truly, my relationship with kevin has been an adventure since day 1!} 
 {this picture was the easiest thing to make. i ripped out a music sheet from my old piano books, stenciled these words with a sharpie, and spray painted a hideous wood frame teal. I love how it turned out!}
{the picture in the top left with the hearts came from my own imagination. we took another hideous frame and spray painted it. my mom lined the back with this cute fabric, and then we cut hearts out of burlap and sewed them on the fabric. easy peasy!}
 {another pinterest inspiration that my mom whipped up in minutes using fabric she found off an old shower curtain from a yard sale, and a pretty lace doily. viola!} 
 {i saw this globe and filled the expanse with hope. it sits in my room and i adore the inspiration it offers, that truly we can be ambassadors of peace to this world!}
 {i love my daddy}
 {mom and i hard at work sewing the hoops!} 

our Lord is the creator, and we are made in his image. 
therefore we too are made to create! 

wishing you lots of inspiration this weekend! i'm off to help a dear friend paint her dresser! 

love Katie 

don't kill your joy. don't. {thankful thursday}


my dearest handsomest better half has left me for 2 weeks to journey to Nepal. watching him walk through security and disappear from my view left me with an ache, but more, really, filled me with great joy. kevin will be joining a movement of believers in the rural lowlands of Nepal, where the gospel has spread like wildfire, hindu strongholds falling to the power of the holy spirit. amen and amen. he will be speaking at a pastors conference, encouraging the believers in their faith, as well as engaging with many local people with the truth of jesus. sweet sweet jesus who comes to bring freedom and set the captives free. 

so if you think of it, pray for him. 
gracias. 
better yet,
dhanyabaad.

but of course he's not far from the reaches of my mind. actually he's quite on my mind almost every second. 

tonight as I was reading "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp,
i was absolutely struck by the idea that 
we can kill our own joy.

say whhaaatttt? 
ya, you heard me,
we often have a hand in crushing the joy in our lives. 

yikes! how? 

remember when we were children? and the very simple evoked great delight?
playing house, swimming in the pool, eating a soft preztel?  
{or maybe I got waaaayyyyy too excited about soft preztels?}
and then all of a sudden we began to forsake the small lovelies, and expect something greater? 


I expect so and so to act this way around me and support me in this way. 
I expect to be married by the time i'm this age. 
I expect to be healthy and happy all the time. 

we all do it. admit it. 

ann says, 
"expectations kill relationships" 
with others and with Abba. 

{PREACH IT ANN! } 

and when those expectations unravel, and the opposite is true, 
we are frustrated at best, hurt and resentful at worst. 

unfortunately i've hurt many i've loved with this horrible-expectation-filled way of living. 
i've held them to a standard unbeknownst to them, and when they don't live up to it,
i unravel. 
{and I think they're crazy for not being able to read my mind! come on people!}

but i'm learning that the best way to live life is EMPTY. 
empty of expectation. 
because if we are not expecting it to be a certain way
then we'll be thrilled at the outcome. 
i'm convinced it's the reason why kevin seems to love every meal i make
{cause i can guarantee you there's been some strange ones!} 

CS Lewis said he was "surprised by joy".
Perhaps there is no way to discover joy but as a surprise?

There is another name for those that live empty and joy-filled. 
it's called humble. 

"The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy" 

JOY comes when thankfulness for the gift abounds. 
and thankfulness lingers close when we aren't expecting the world to give us what we think we deserve. 
because isn't that what expectations are? 
our rightful allowance? what we DESERVE from others and from God? 
ick. 
pride is destructive, and will sap our joy faster than you can say "entitled".  

speaking of entitlement, 
that beast leaves no room for joy. 
invite him over and he's the black plague that will continue to kill and fester forever,
and make you think you're the queen of sheba!  

unless, 
unless we take steps to EMPTY our expectations and entitlement,
and pray that Abba cleans house,
and begins to foster a heart that is humble. 

if you're lacking a sense of JOY,
and need a miracle. 
began to be thankful for the small lovelies around you,
and pray that God siphons off the blackened mess of expectations and entitlement. 
it's a pain-filled process,
but in the end will reap a life that lives
FULL. 
and JOY-FILLED. 

and who wouldn't want that? 

{and lastly, my own infomercial here....
truly this process has been critical in my own life for living JOY filled!} 

much love,

Monday, January 7, 2013

my grace moments

On new years eve I did something I had never done.
I made my first purchase at the Mexican Food Truck  that permanently sits on our street and is run by my neighbors.
impressive, eh? 

the truck's been there for a while, 
but since my diet doesn't consist of hot cheetos or takis.
or mexican candy.
or chips.
i've never thought twice about being transactional at the truck.
call me crazy, i know. 

then new years eve i decided it was time to shake things up, and walked down to said truck. 

i was in sweatpants, with my pants tucked into my socks.
lookin' all classy like that.
i said hello to everyone, paid for my lime (and you thought i'd be buying takis),
 and began walking home.
i passed neighbors windows, looking in to see beloved faces i'd come to cherish this past year.

as I skipped back to my house, i had this overwhelming and exhilarating feeling that the Lord had given me some special moments this past year. . 

those small spaces, stopped in time, where the joy is palpable, and you want to wrap up in it like a fluffy blanket and never let go of the tenderness between you and the Father. like he just gave you a gift. 

well...cause he did. 

i call them grace-filled moments.
accepting that ALL is a gift.
from a Father that loves,
because that's his nature.

here are a few of my favorite grace moments this year {in no particular order. which really just means i'm too lazy to organize them}.

spending 4 amazing days on the island of crete in greece with my bay sister. there was a second that went by that i didn't want to pinch myself and ask if it was real! here and here

spending 10 days in alaska with my family. oh man, it was so naturally stunning! 

 seeing two sweet girls from the hood get baptized and give their lives over to the Lord. here
 living my DREAM and going to the Sound of Music sing-a-long at the Hollywood bowl! and just to reiterate the SOM nerd in me, my brother in law gave me the SOM collectors edition that came with behind the scenes footage, original postcards from the film, and a music box that plays "my favorite things"! haha here 
 my lifegroup and the weekend we spent at LG retreat. so epic and fun! 
 spending 5 days at home with my family in july. sooooooo refreshing!
 spending 4 days in germany with my sister. we.had.a.ball.  
 shooting my first wedding for our beloved neighbors. and being asked by them if we would be the godparents to their little Lili. 
 spending a 4 day weekend in Tahoe with my best friend and her husband. seriously life giving! 
 england.scotland.ireland. 3 weeks with my best friend. EPIC! 
london, oxford, dingle 1 and dingle 2 (and hopefully more posts to come!) 
 hosting VBS with my lifegroup at our house for the neighborhood kids. one of the most fun (and exhausting!) weeks of the year!! 
 spending Christmas time with these crazies. i.love.my.family. 
 meeting my birthday twin Chels this year. here
 meeting some of my very best girlfriends this year through church. here
 getting to love on the kids in our neighborhood almost daily. love them and thank God for putting us where we are! here
 spending lovely time with my lovely grandparents. so thankful for them! they told Kevin and I that they pray for us daily. 
 adventuring with my best friend and love of my life. 
 catalina island for kev's birthday. it was such a magical and misty weekend on the island:) 
 singing karaoke with my 2 sisters on the cruise to Alaska. love my sisters. 

there are so many more. but I am sure thankful. Here's to 2013 and many more ways the Father chooses to gift us with grace moments! 

love Katie